By Gregor Brown
Team Sky's Italian sprinter Elia Viviani finished the eighth stage of the Giro d'Italia in 5-09-31, but it was not fast enough to avoid the time cut. The race jury sent him and two others home after the Arezzo stage finish.
Viviani led the small three-man group home, placing 188th ahead of Iuri Filosi (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Boy Van Poppel (Trek-Segafredo) and 55-26 minutes behind stage winner and new race leader, Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx–Quick-Step).
"He was dropped on the first climb to Assisi," Dario Cioni, Sky’s sports director told Cycling Weekly.
The race left Foligno for the 186km journey through Umbria and Tuscany. The first little climb to 401 metres, topped out only 15.1km in to the day.
"They were going hard from the start. They took the descent hard and the race was splitting right away, into three groups. Elia was on his own behind right away with the two others."
Sky could not afford to send any of its other eight men behind with a team in the 99th Giro built for Mikel Landa and the overall classification.
Landa and the other classification favourites faced the Alpe di Poti climb at the end of the stage, where Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) lost pace and the pink jersey, and others including Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo) were dropped.
"They came close before the final climb to catching the next group, but they could never get on,” said Cioni. “They were going fast."
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Brambilla covered the 186km stage in 4-14-05, averaging 43.922kph. The jury calculate the maximum finish time from the winner’s time and average and in this case, said the three were FTM or 'Fuori Tempo Massimo' by around 28 minutes.
Last year, Viviani sprinted to the stage win in Genoa for Team Sky. His goal was to do the same and help Landa to the pink jersey.
"If Elia was there for Mikel for the rest of the Giro, it would be good," added Cioni. "He would help if he had too, but he was here to pick up some stage wins. I'm upset more for that he wasn't able to take a stage win or two home."
German Marcel Kittel (Etixx–Quick-Step), who sprinted to victory in stage two and three, also left the Giro. His team announced after the race that he would not start on Sunday when the Giro continues with its Chianti time trial.
"I had my personal goals, but I'm sorry to leave my captain Mikel Landa with one rider less," Viviani said. "Already for a few days, I wasn't feeling my best. Too often, I was suffering."
Viviani will return to focus on the track and racing the omnium in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games this summer.
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